Deadline Now: Toledo City Councilman Joe McNamara

Deadline Now: Toledo City Councilman Joe McNamara

Friday, September 6, 2013 at 8:30 p.m.

Toledo City Councilman Joe McNamara (D) is running hard to be the city's next mayor. This week, he sits down with Jack Lessenberry for a full half-hour conversation about his plans for the city, if elected.

Here are Jack Lessenberry's Final Thoughts for this edition of "Deadline Now:"

One of the things fascinating to me about politics is what seems to be sort of a natural evolution towards – if not exactly political dynasties – to families where politics is the family business.

We used to be taught as children that when the United States became a nation, it was the first time that a country had moved away from rule by a hereditary nobility to a system where we elected the best men based on merit, not who their families were.

Well, that is nice in theory, and there IS a lot of truth to that. But that definition leaves out John Adams, who begat John Quincy Adams, William and Benjamin Harrison, the Kennedys, the Bushes, Pat and Jerry Brown, the Tafts, the Dingells, and countless other families where politics were the family business, at least in part.

Besides, stories of fathers and sons are always fascinating. Long-time Toledoans have always been haunted by the memory of a bright young man in his thirties, a man I myself knew very slightly. He had been on council and was Lucas County auditor, and was clearly destined for even bigger things. Then a freak auto accident took his life.

Thirty years later, and his son, who followed his father’s footsteps to city council, now is vying to become Toledo’s mayor. I don’t know if Joe McNamara will win, or if he should win. Voters won’t make up their minds based on who his father was. The nation, the city, and the issues are a lot different in 2013 than they were in 1983.

Incidentally, there’s something else any candidate who loses next week should remember. And that’s the advice of that great philosopher, Yogi Berra: It ain’t over till it is over. Think of how many times Carty Finkbeiner lost before he began the first of his three terms as mayor of Toledo.

But when it comes to the McNamaras, I do think this. There is something heartwarming about families where public service is a tradition. My guess is that whether his son wins or loses, on Election Day, Dan McNamara would be pretty darn proud.